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Volume 7 Issue 83

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@ Aerospace Publishing Ltd 1 985
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Aerospace Publishing Ltd
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Managing Editor: Stan Morse


Editorial : Trisha Palmer
Chris Bishop
Chris Chant
lan Drury

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Artists: Consultant Editor: Major General Sir


=rank Kennard Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MC, Comman-
iichard Hook der of British Land Forces during the
rierre Turner
Falklands campaign.

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An American soldier inVietnam
uses anM60 from an emPlaced
position, with PlentY o!
ammunition belts readY to
hand. In such belts about one
round in six is tracer.

The use of automatic weapons steadily increaseddurtng


The second-generation weapons are more specialtzed :ha:- .:.=
GPMGs The light machine-gun has made a come-back as the s;-::
World War |tr, and today most infantrymen carry weapons support weapon, while the heavy machine-gun has returned in ihe ::, '
capable of burst firc, Butthe machine'guttemainstheprime of the post-war GPMGs retained for the heavy flre-support role -:.=.
'-
frrepowercomponent of the infantry squad,, and,classic are now in the posrtion of either being retained indefinitely, or are s,,','.
desigms like the Bren have lost none of theit effectiveness' being replaced by the larger-calibre weapons such as the really n:-'-.
machine-guns (of 12 7/0 S-in caiibre and upwards) or the mac:.-=-.
The modern machine-gun is still one of the foot soldier's most powerful weapons now generally known as cannon. It is the machine-guns tha. :-:=
weapons, but it has changed much stnce World War I, when the covered in this study.
machine-gun dominated the battlefields of France and elsewhere. To- At first srght the variety of modern machine-qluns iooks solne-,',':.:
day's machine-gun is much hghter, more reliable and in general more bewilderrng, and the types mentioned here are but a seiection of .'i'-:--- -.
flexrble in lts tactrcal applications, Most of the machine-gnrns here dis- available, More types than can be covered in these pages are arori. L
cussed are portable enough to be used in locations where it was once in the wrngs, for machine-gun development ls still very proqress-'-
unthrnkable that such weapons could even be carried, but they are still Nearly all the major nations are either attempting to gild the ltly by :s-.. =
as lethal and efficrent as they ever were, the existing types, or alternativeiy chastng the myth of the pe:-::'
The machlne-gun is now in its second generation of development design, Some of the designs mentioned here do appear tc :.-"=
since World War IL The first generation weapons are strll very much in achieved near-perfectron, for how otherwise can one contempla-: -:.:
evidence wrth virtually every armed force in the world, and are the longevity of the MG3 and L4A4 Bren Gun desrgns? Others such es .:.=
post-war general-purpose machine-quns, or GPMGs, In the years after M60, make one wonder how they have lasted so 1ong,
1945 the GPMG was embraced by many as the way ahead in machine-
The mostwidely-used present-day version of the WorldWar II Bren gun ts ::. -=
gnrn design, but the soldiers in the front line discovered the hard way that British L4A4, a conversion to standard NATO calibre. Seen here in action '",':::.
,he all-purpose machine-gnrn is as much a myth as the all-purpose truck the South African Army, it is also used by the British and many of the ex-
Thus the second generation of machine-guns is now entering servtce Commonwealth armies, including I ndia.
7.62-mm FN MAG
World War Il established the general-
purpose machrne-qrun (GPMG) as a vi-
able weapon with its ability to be flred
fuom a light bipocl in the assault role
and ftom a heary tripod in the defen-
sive or sustarned ro1e, A-fter 1945 many
desiqners tried to produce thetr ornm
version ofthe GPMG concept, and one
cf the best was produced in Belgium
during the early 1950s. The company
concerned was Fabrique Nationale or
FN, based at Herstal, and its design
became known as the FN Mitrailleuse
d'Appui G6n6ral or MAG, It was not
Iong before the MAG was adopted by
many nations, and today it rs one of the
most wrdely-used of all modern
I
machine-gun designs,
The MAG fires the standard NATO or as a vehicle defence weapon m a clude Israel, South A-frica, Sinqapore TheBelgianFN MAG is oneof the
1.62-mm (0,3-in) cartridge and uses a ball mounting, and as an antt-aircraft and Argtentina, and there are others, mos t widely used of the pos t-Wor ld
conventional gas-operated mechan- weapon on a tripod or vehicle-hatch Even longer rs the hst of MAG users: a W ar I I gener al-purpose machine -
sm, in which gases tapped off from the mountinq, It is also used on many liqht brief summary includes Sweden, Ire- gans.Well made fromwhat are
barrel are used to drive the breech naval vessels, land, Greece, Canada, New Zealand, usually solid metal billets machined
biock and other components to the The MAG has been widely pro- the Netherlands and so on, There rs tospec, theMAG is avery sturdy but
rear once a round has been fired. duced under licence. One ofthe bet- little chance of the MAG falling out of heavy weapon that is still in
-,'l1rere ter-known nations is the UK, where the fashion, and production continues all production worldwide.
the FN MAG scores over many
:cmparable designs is that the tap- MAG is known as the IJZA2, The British over the world,
ping-off point under the barrel in- introduced some modifications of their
:orporates a regulator device that own, (and have produced the weapon Specification Lengnhs: gmn 1260 mm (49,61 in);
Jows the flrer to control the amount of for export), and there rs no sign of it FNMAG barrel545 mm (21,46 in)
gas r:sed and thus vary the flre rate 10 beingr replaced in the foreseeable fu- Calibre: 7,62 mm (0.3 in) Muzzle velocity: 840 m (2,756 ft) per
sJi the ammunition and other vari- ture as far as the British armed forces Weights: gun only I0.I kg (22.27 lb): second
i:les. For the sustained-fire role the are concerned, Other nations that pro- tripod 10,5 kg(23. 151b); barrel3 kg Rateoffire: (cyclic) 600- 1000 rpm
barrel can be changred easily and duce the MAG for ther own use in- (6.6]b) Type offeed: 50-round belt
;_-.::ckly,
Lr construction the MAG is very stur- Below: The FN MAG is licence-
:r-. Some use is made of steel press- produced in Israel by I srael Military
:-3s riveted toqether, but many com- Industries and is used by all
!'lrents are machined from solid met- branches of the Israeli armed forces.
:- making the weapon somewhat
::avy for easy transport. But thts
s::uctural strength enables the
',1eapon to absorb all manner of rough
-e and it can be used for long periods
-r;-::cut marntenance other than
::=g:rng the barrels when they get
::,: rot. The ammunition is belt-fed,
;;:-:cr can be awkward when the
-r,::pcn has to be carried with lenqths
:: ::mu:ution belt left hanqnng from
:: =ed
and snaqging on just about
,';e:l rised as an LMG the MAG
-i:s aasbuit and srmple bipod, When
a sustamed-fire weapon the
-etr
t Above : D uring the F alkland I slands Below: The FN MAG is fitted to the
-:: -s usually removed and the
;r:{'3:r placed campaign LZAI s were hastily turrets of the German Leopard 2
rs on a heavy tripod,
'-=':r':,- -''nth some form of buffering to pressed into use on improvised anti- tanks in service with the Dutch army.
..s,:ri: car:t of the recoil. However, the aircraftmountings to provide some Pictured here in September I 984 on
l.'r-3 :ar: be adapted to a number of measure of defence against Exercise'Lionheart', the MAG has
:-::::::c'i-inturgts, and is often used as a Argentine attacks on the shipping in been fitted with a blank firing i
I
::-:-ra1'.";eapon on armouredvehicles San Carlos harbour. adaptor.
t
t
1
FN 5.56-mm Minimi Modern Machine-Guns
With the turn away from the healry
NATO 7.62-mm (0,3-in) cartridge to-
wards the smaller 5.56-mm (0,219-in)
round for use by the standard dfles of
most of the NATO nations (and many
others), rt followed that there was a
need for a hght machine-eflrn to use the
new calibre, FN accordingly drew up
the design ofa new weapon that even-
tually became known as the FN Minimi
and was flrst shown in 1974. The Mini-
mi is intended for use only as a squad
suppon weapon as there is no way that
the light 5.56-mm cartridge can be
used effectively for the heavy support
or sustained-fire role, for it simply
lacks the power to be effective at
ranges much beyond 400 m (437
yards), Thus heavier-calibre weapons
such as the FN MAG will still be re-
tained for this role in the futwe.
The Minimi uses some desiqn fea-
tures from the earlier FN MAG, includ-
tng the quick-change barrel and the
eEs regnrlator, but a new rotary locking
device is used for the breech block quired, the belt feed can be replaced drfferent rifling in the barrel, but is TheFN Minimihas been adopted by
which rs gn:ided insrde the receiver by by a magazine feed. FN has shrewdly otherwise srmilar to the Amencan car- theUS Army for the Squad Automatic
two gmrde rails to ensure a smooth quessed that the American Ml6Al rifle tridge, Weapon (SAW) as the M249. I t is now
travel, These latter innovations have would quickly become the standard T\uo possible varrants of the Minimi entering service with the airborne
made the Minimi rnto a remarkably weapon in its class, and has thus made are a 'para'ver'sion which uses a shor- divisions of theRapid Deployment
reliable weapon, and further reliabilrty provision for the Mimmi to use the ter barrel and a shdrng butt to make Joint Task Force (RDITF).
has been rnrroduced into the ammuni- Ml6Al's 3O-round magazine, This can the weapon shorter overall, and a vehi-
tion feed. This rs one of the Minimi's clip into the receiver just under the cle model with no butt at all for mount,
major contributions to modern hght belt feed guides after the belt has rng in armoured vehicles, The Minimi
machine-gmn desiqn as it does away been removed, itself has many ingenious detail points Specification
with the long and awkward flapping The association wrth the American as well: the trigger guard may be re- FNMinimi
ammunition belts used on many de- Mi6Al rifle has turned out well for FN, moved to allow operatlon by a man Calibre:5,56 mm (0,219 in)
sigms and which snag on everythingT for the Minimi has been adopted as the wearinq winter or NBC warfare Weights: with bipod 6. 5 kg ( 14.33 1c'
when carried. The Minimi uses a sim- US Army's squad fire-support weapon, gloves, the front handgnrard contains a with 200 rounds 9.7 kg (21 38 lb)
ple box (under the gun body) which and is now known there as the M249 cleaning kit, the ammunition feed box Lengths:weapon 1050 mm (41.34 r,'
contains the neatly-folded belt, When Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW. has a simple indicator to show how barrel465 mm (18 31 in)
the weapon is fired from a bipod, the This version will fire the new standard many rounds are left, and so on. Muzzie velocity: (SS 109)915 m
box is so arranged that rt will not inter- NATO SS109 5.56-mm cartridge rather Overall the Minimi may be re- (3,002 ft) per second
fere with normal use and on the move it than the ear[er M]93 cartridge, The garded as one of the best of the new Rate offire: (cyclic) 750-1000 rpm
is out of the way of the carner. But the SS109 has a longTer and heavier bullet family of 5 56-mm liqht machine-guns. Type of feed:100- or 200-round bei. ::
Minimi goes one step further: if re- than the earlier cartridge and uses a It will be around for a very long time. 30-round box maqazine

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

7.62-mm vz 59
Czech machine-gun designers can mechanism, The ammunition feed sys- firing in armoured vehicles on a co- weapons have appeared whet:'.'=:
trace their progeny back to the range tem rs also a carry-over from the vz 52, axial or similar mount it is known as the there Ls a market for small arrrl-: i.-l
of highly successful machine-guns in which it was regarded by many as vz 59T. This does not exhaust the varia- Czech weapons have lhus re:+:-.-.
started with the vz (vzor, or model) 26 being the only successful feature, In tions of the vz 59 series for, no doubt rurned up rn the MLddle ta:. =.-.:
in 1926 and which resulted in the this feed system the belt is carried into with an eye to possible sales outside especrally rn Lebanon; some .: -':
famous Bren Guns. As successor to the receiver by gmides where a cam Czechoslovakia, there is a version that have certainly been seen there -
these designs the Czechs produced a system takes over and pushes the car- fires standard NATO 7,62-mm (0,3-rn) date there is no record of any la -,--
new model during the early 1950s as tridge forward through the belt link ammunition and known as the vz 59N; purchasrng the NATO-ammu:--.- :
"rhe vz 52, which may be regarded as into the weapon, This system was the vz 59 series usually fires the Soviet version, but no doub' lhal versl--,-. ','.
:he old design updated to use an copied on the Soviet PK series, but on 7.62-mm cartridge, turn up in some unexpected r:-*:,= -
ammunition belt-feed system. This was the vz 59 the belts are fed iiom metal One rather unusual feature of the vz spot one day
rot the success of the ear[er weapons, boxes; for the light machine-gun role 59 is the telescopic sight, which can be
aiid rs now rarely encountered other with the light barel and desiqrnation vz used wrth the bipod and the tripod. Specification
:an in the hands of 'freedom flqhters' 59L, one of these boxes can be hung This optical slght may be illuminated vz 59
=rd the like, and the vz 52 has thus from the right-hand side ofthe gun in a internally for use at night and rs also Calibre: 7.62 mm (0,3 in)
::en superseded by the vz 59. rather unbalanced fashion, The used for anti-aircraft fire, for which role Weights: with bipod and liqht c:"r +.
The vz 59 is much simpler than the weapon may be used in the LMG role the vz 59 is placed on top of a tubular B67kgt19 I lb): wirhtripodar-c:. : -'
=arlier vz 52 but follows the same with bipod or tripod mountings. extenslon to the normal tripod. barrel | 9 24 k9 q42.42 Ia1
;:::-eral lines in appearance and op- For the heavy machrne-gmn role the To date the vz 59 is known to have Lengrths: with hght barrel 1 L l6 r-::-
-=:::ron, In fact many of the operatingr vz 59 is fitted with a healry barrel. In been adopted only by the Czech army, (43.94 in), with hearry barrel ).2'-Z
-,
:::-ciples of the vz 52 have been car- this form it is known merely as the vz although other nations may by now (47.84 in); light barrel 593 mm
:-:j over, including the gas-operated 59. When fitted with a solenord for have the type rn use, In the past Czech (23,35 in); heavy barrel 693 mr:
(27 28 rn)
Muzzlevelocity: with irghr ca::. . ' - -
(2.657 ft) per second. and v.-.':. :.- ,.-.'
barrel B3O m(2723|t)por5.-'- -
Rate of fire: (cyclic) 700-80C rc:,
Typeof feed: 50-or 260 r - :.: : + -.

The Czech7.62-mm (0.30-in) vz 5: ::


adevelopment of the earlier v z 5 2 -: I
butmuch easiet to produce.
Developedwith an eye to the
international expor t m ar ket. c e',' :
59}rasbeen adopted by the Czec:.
armed forces but others c'rop :p ::.
various corners of the world.

i
t_
ltlachine-GuR Tactics
| :e conflicting requirement for machine-guns to be portable t a
'."e: capable oflust-arned fire led to the concept of thegeneral-
: ; r pose machine-gun. However, in recent years the emphasis
-:: s been on specialization, heavy-barrel versions of rifles
:e:r.g iitrodiced at squad level-and sustained fire entrusted
:: such stalwarts as the Browning 0.|0-calibre machine-gun.

; . .:r-ic lVar I the machine-gun was a weapon that could dom,nate the
-t -: '. 4 mannei that made movement vrrtually rmpossible, and at times
: .-.: creadful war machine-quns were often massed in batteries which
,-.=: .^rncie ti-acts of tef]tory impassab e to men and animals. Such a
' -:-:: was not to arise aqa n, for in the wars that followed the static
''. r LneV\es'ernFronLE'oseon y n'.equenr y.Tne.random nanceo'
,. : :r:eld passed to the artrllery and tanks, and only rarely were machine-
$'...i-'f
rE; as
, Yillf
"6*'
r r:.. :o reassert their former role. lnstead the machine-qun took otl a new
support for troops in attack and defence. As warfare tcok on a
.-
'r cf f ireand
- --.;brle ?l'uid form, the machine-gun was often able to pour such
' -: o. f ire on attackinq infantry or onto a pos tion that the enemy's tactical
' : " o' inte^16n became renporar lv dill crlt or 'mposs,ble.
' - -- ^ 3s.rcanof.udcono I onstnemacri^e'g-l-ro+Ten oecan ethepvol
'. Ln an i^'ant'y Jn 1 o' sqJdo cou'd acf. By rovi^g to a 'lank, a
' -r^ corld rpeP ar e-e-y's heao down wh le tne rest o'the scrad The British-produced version of the Belgian FN MAG is known as the LTAL or
t- a'alo-'aote oosit o^ o LTAZ, and is seen here with its butt removed for tfte suslained fire role and
-acie a.r dtt,iLk. I hese tacl cs are st l,widelv
. . -.-lqh the form of the machine-gun has changed. mounted on a bu{{ered tripod. No feed belt is visible as it is fed in from the
. -:d o, Worlo War I tnere were 1wo rypes o{ rac^ nc gJn. The more left-hand side ol the gunfrom a beltbox.
i.o wos lne ledv\, mac^'e-gun l*1r11;t, u'v6 6'' sat o"n a tr:poo and
-- -Jt vo umes of fire. Then there was the lrghter and more portable light indeed carry out these ancilliary roles (and do so quite happ ly to th s day), but the
- --.-.rirn (LMG),
-- -,3-gi-rn (l l\lG) whlch could
corLld be used at low,er command levels than the sold ers soon tea-reC l.rdr tne GpMG concept has ts l m 1s.
. ."- -eavvweaool. B-l ov lhe encj o'WorldWar ll tnese two typestrad The problem for tne sold er was that \r'/hile a GPMG could make a satisfactory
' 'er by a tnird, tne gene a puroose mac^ine gln tGPMGt. lnis was a heavy machine-gun 't was less success{ul as a light machine-gun or squad
- .r
roiion that caught o; fast. Very basicaliy the rd-ea was that one weapon weapon. Most GPMGs use belt-fed ammunition, and when a flapping ammuni-
.: ::
ised for boih the light and the heavy roLes. The GPMG was a r-cooled, tion belt is dragged thr-ough d tches and across country it creates problems for
-
-.s much lighter than the water-cocied, heavy machine-guns, and when the {eeo, to sa} noLn rq o' rl'e tas( faced by the hap'ess carrier. who has
- rre HMGiole the GPMG simply overcame the prcblem of barrel heating constantly to f ree the thrng trom undergrowth and project ons. The GPMG also
. ,= j by arqevolumesof fire) bymeansof arapid-barrel-changecapability. errs on the weighty side for the squad role, and many in servlce GPN,4Gs are far
- .- elscouid beheldcloseathandandfitted lnafewseconds.Thesame heavier and more arru,kward to handle than they should be for such use. A srmple
o. d o. I rredvr lha I ghtb pod'oro'oduci'g raoioairedf 'e, ardwas example of thrs is deployment of the L7A2 {the British army's version of the FN
,'l:lie of LMG use.
-='-si GPMGs were the German MG34 and MG42, the latter having the
MAG) in the squad role compared with the lighter and handier Bren Gun which it
replaced: many soldiers were not happy at that transition, and remarn unhappy
-. -- ::g-terrn nfluence to the extent that it is still ln production. ln the to tn's oay.
: ..- l:"ricd these two designs were soon joined by many others, and for a
- - r . .'.:s GPMGsal1thewav. Economrcallythe ldea madeqood sense: only The LTAI and L7A2 have been adapted far mountings firing out o{ the sides of
'. re world be neeoed, and w th lrcr thai bas c type 61r-io be Army Air Corps Lynx helicopters tbr providing fireiuppoit during an
. e- -o eb ort> de the GDMG ranqe, s-ch as co-ax al -ourttrgs'ot airborne \anding. A special version for carrying in helicopter pods is known
---,. ^e:,copter guns and so on. Many of the post-war generation could as the L20AI . Although effective, these guns a re really too light for this role.

-8.1

:g

:r?;&& .&,..:,

*,C@W

?1

+
,'*_rt,.
*
€-l

*
Modcrn Mae hint=-G *:' s

.--'-:s c^ move back towards the specialist LMG, and v/ith ihe
- -: -iL\been-a
- 56
5 mn {0 2.1 f-in) cartridge such LMGs can be really light
., -oJCngdpprcc:dolcjfrloJ^l:o':,lo-otic' rc.-old!,lreLNlG
-=:: :c,tsorgrnai role of producing aulomattc fire suppori for the
:-.: As ihese modern squads move thev can produce firepower out
,,-. fn io their numbers frorn their assauI rifles arrd squad support
,,i ,r ls ihe latter that produces the voluine of accui-atelv,ain,ed'fire
-. :;liv so useful.
,.: back to the LMG nas nct done away wth the role of the HMG.
.r p dce cn tlre modern battlef ield forthe cenirally'controlled volume
'c:;vV we,rpon. This s st, linnporiant. for most LMGs are capable cf
- ''e only to about 60C m (655 yards) at best, and l-lMGs of len harre to
.:'!ets or target areas ai ranges well over 1000 m 11,100 yards). The
: 55 mm rounds quite srmply canrrot do this, for their propeilant ioads
, ej to much shorter ranges. lt is lrue that',he recent Belgian SS -1Cg
i-
1as more po"/er at longer ranges than tire American |"{ I 9,t, brt L sLili
-a,ch the power of the larger 7.62-mm (C.3-in) round in e ther rts NATO
:ie rar more anctent {but still good) Soviet equ valent.
-' --:
- GDIIG appears to be facling"awayas a coniept, even if many of the
: : :=rcrat on live on rf a sr-rppcrt role. They w ll be maintained at companV
: : .: on level and distributed'as requ red, ouhiie the liqht--rweapons w,tl Oe ldsGPMG can equal tircrange andsfopplnEpawer af the heavt-cai:r::t
, -:..ied a1 squad ievel. Some observers have remarl ed thart many cuilenr inae&rne-Eru.ns. Many counfi:ies use theBrotvninE A.50-calibre ln r:e
--'::hine guns are little rnore than machine rifles, i.e. i'tfles firted wtth susfained-fiie rale. This is the MZ HB version produced by FIti. vthjc: ::c.: -:=:
-: :: rari-e s and a light bipod, and for some of the ries qils r.enilcned rrr th,s aqatckbarre| change.
,' .:. .:rs is true; the exanrpies of the Soviet BPK and some of the Heckler &
Q: ? t UOVILU-. BJI OpC i,/ o S.]LIJO 'vpcPO^ ldq n Jr Tr ure l1c. a belts. spare barrels ancl all h s own qear. Contrast rh s wiln ihe i,.--- -. .
: - .r€ r iie, especia ly tf the squad ts expected to operate in rouoh or dlfficult heavy suppori \^/eapon carried on an armoured vehicle, rnlih ir: ,: j-. - .

-'-. r Under such conditions ii s rl e y that the liVG rr;ill be the only fire e - .rr\ ng o '4,/o.ipL,' vreigh ng o'lv n I LrlL m :ra .^a^ Ll
: i:.rt lhe squad can expect, arrd rt Lhus has to be capable of more than ;hort . l^S FnrSO.F ,-a-tnc sdteadybe-O-,.ga.eo,y -.. --
. , . rf lre. Enfield.Weapon Svstern, with the lWand rhe fSfiVwoitrng cicser',, .1;- -. .
^ere s one factor lhat is ncrry often overlooked ',vhen clca ino with n,odern swapo'lQrr-ff ,r tO ldgo/IrecwnCt 1^q.irCd, .,OJe .^ -: -
-''-,tr'7 tactics. Modern tnfaniry ts usually carried intc; acticn o; some sort of :ifr v'.f,cnrcr.irrlta l,relwr .lOtbea,One.'O. -eFeoAr- , ,

. ^ : e {usually an arrnoured personncl carr er) Frequently the squad weapons, 1heAKM1RPl(combnatlonforyearsandthelJSArmywl]soonr:':.-
-
- have to be ltred frorr nsrde the vehtcle, especiaily
-iing lhe machrne-guns, MinimirM 164'1 mix. When that happens the M60s, FN MAGs, l7 .2. . ' . ,
- ::trolilng and policin{situat ons. Thus specialconstde-ation has to be i]lr;en to other cui-nbersome weapons wili go back to the heavy supocfi .. : .'
-: i'lpes of mcunting the machine-gun will use , and thus io the cost of tiie basic lroirt-lrne soldier ur il be happy at ihe prospeci.
.::lon has to be addecl the expense cf special mountings, be lirey str-nple
,:f,esia mounis in Jeeps or moie complex bal mounrings"in armouled veh- Spenf cases areseen rn fJ:gh; a s they are ejected from theki60's feerJ
fv?eeha;xrs&?. 7fte/f60 uses a tnechanism based on lhe Germ an Worid'1, :: ..'
3,rl foi- nrany arrned fcirces ttre image of ihe machtne,gunner is usuaily that of &4G 4 2 allied wifft some ofiher fe atures de rived frorn tke G e rm an F G I 2, :. : : : -

,'. overloaded indivirjual lugg ng about a hea'J-y weapon and festcorred with
r'r^nrunltion belts. Not far Jrira/,s his equaiiy loaded'assrsiani carryine more hy ffte US ar:ned foyces.

..r,:*,;ali1,::Jtai!
r.i.{'|,r+':'-'--' '-

.5,

i:'
7.62-mm SIG 710-3
The Swiss 7.62-mm (0,3-in) SIG 710-3 ts
a v/eapon that on paper appears to be
one ofthe flnest of its class, The overall
desrqn, construction and rellability of
the SIG design is such that it would
appear to be a world leader, In fact
nothingr of the kind has occurred, for
this most promising of machine-gnrn
designs has now been taken out ofpro-
ductron, and around the world it can be
found in service wtth nattons such as
Brunei, Bolivia and Chile,
The reason for this stranqe state of
affairs can perhaps be seen in the fact
that when the Swiss produce anY
weapon desiqn they do so in a manner
that can only attract superlatives, The
Swiss produce weapons wtth a magni-
ficent degnee of care and attentlon to
finish, and while people may be willing the system constitutes a form of de- The locking system is identical with The 7.62-mm (0.30-in) SIG 7 I 0-3
layed blowback, with the chamber that employed on the Sturmetewehr 45 general- purpose machine- gvn was
to pay heavily for similarly-engtneered
Swiss watches, they are not willtng to fluted to prevent spent cases 'sticking', whrch failed to reach sewice with the based on German wartime design
pay on the same scale for machine- The flrst SIG 7lOs were virtually hand- German army before the surrender of experience and should have
gnrns, The SIG products tend to be ex- made weapons that attracted much May 1945. emerged as one of the tinest
pensive, and in a world where atrention (but few orders), so an in- But the SIG 710-3 does have many machine-gun designs ever, but in the
machine-guns can be produced on creasing number of production expe- original Swiss features, not the least of event only smallnumbers were
simple machine tools and metal stamp- dients was incorporated into the de- which is the type of rapid barrel produced.
ing jigs the finely machined weapon sign, to the point where the SIG 710-3 change, Many extras were developed
has little chance of commercial suc- makes use of some stamptnqs; need- for these machine-gmns, including one
cess. less to say, these are ofvery hrgh qualt- buffered tripod for sustained flre, Spe- Specification
The SIG 710-3 is actually the third in ty. The machine-ql1n sports some fea- cial features such as dral sights and sIG 710-3
a series of machine-guns, the first of tures from German weapons. The telescopic sights were also produced, Calilrre: 7,62 mm (0.3 in)
which were produced during the early Swiss were very influenced bY the and in the end the SIG 7i0-3 could be Weights: gmn 9,25 kg (20,39 1b); heavy
post-war years In srmple terms the MG42 and in the years after the war regarded as one of the most advanced barrel 2.5 kq (5,5 I lb); light barrel
first SIG 710 models were machtne- produced several desiqns based on machine-guns available anywhere, 2,04 kq (4.5 Ib)
gnrn versions of the Swiss Sturmqewehr features of the model, The SIG 710-3 But it was all for nothing as far as SIG Lengrths:qLrn 1143 mm (45 in); barrel
Modeil 57 (assault rifle model 1957), trigger mechanism is the same as that was concerned, high development 559 mm (22 in)
and the machine-qun employs the of the MG42, and so is the ammunitton and production costs (combined with Muzzlevelocity: 790 m (2,592 ft) per
same delayed roller and block locking feed which rs so effictent that it the strict rules of the Svnss Qiovernment second
system as the CETME and the Heckler accommodates both American and regardinq arms sales) leading to an Rateoffire: (cyclic) 800-950 rpm
& Koch rifles, On the Swiss weapons German belt linkings without trouble. eariy exit from production, Type of feed: belt

:
ffi:- usA

7.62-mm M60
The M60 is a qeneral-purpose
machine-gnrn that can trace its origins
back to the latter period of World War
II when it was known as the T44, The
Cesign was greatly influenced by the
new German machine-gun designs:
:he ammunition feed is a direct lift from
:leMG42, and the piston and bolt
-sembly was copied from the revolu-
:-cnary 7,92-mm (0.3 12-in) Fallschirm-
-lgerqewehr 42 (FG42). The T44 and
-= production version the M60, made
::nensive use of steel stampings and
piastics, and the first examples were
-.sued for service with the US Army
i':ring the late 1950s,
These flrst examples were not a suc-
::ss. They handled badly and some of
:-: Cetail design was such that chang-
-:-; a barrel involved taking half the
'r rt calls the Maremount Lrightweight The American M60 is a rather bulkY
=:.cn apart. These early difflculties near future by the 5.56-mm (0,219-tn)
-,r:r: gradually eliminated, and the M249 Minimi for the US ArmY. For Machine-Gun, which is the M60 much and heavy weapon that is awkward
1.1j, : now as efficient a weapon as heavrer use the M60 can be mounted modified to reduce weight and im- to handle. First produced in the late
blt many serving soldiers still on a tripod or on a vehicle Pedestal prove handlinq, The bipod has been it underwent a protracte d
I 9 40 s,
=:-.- moved back under the receiver and a development programme betore it
:::,:ss not to like the weapon for its mount.
Some specral versions of the M60 foregrip has been added, The gas- entered service in the late 1950s, and
;:=::laily awkward handling proP- operated mechanism has been sim- has been widely used ever since. I t is
=: =: 3'.ri the M60 is the US Army's have been produced, The M60C ls a
remotely-fired version for external plified, and there is now provision for a now a reliable and efficient weaPon
-:s: ;:::eral-purpose machine-gun, winter trigger, The result is a much used by several armies.
::-r ,: :-:',',: serves rn a host of roles. mounting on helicopters, The M60D is
:- --s 'casrc form as a squad suPPort a prntle-mounted version with no butt lighter and handier weapon than the
'.'.-:ap.r the M60 is htted with a for mounting rn helicopter gnrnships original, although it can now be r.rsed
. :::-:eci steel bipod mounted just be- and some vehicles, The M60E2 is a only for the liqht machine-qun role. Specification
--.: -.:.= muzzie, For Ihrs purpose it is much-altered variant for use as a co- The new weapon is currently under- M60
:=::-:: by a small handle which is axial gmn on armoured vehicles, going evaluation trials by several Calibre: 7.62 mm(0.3 in)
Weights:Qnrn 10.51 kg(23. U lb);
:=:-:: i-rsf ior the loads placed on it; Throughout much of lts Production armres.
barrel 3.74 kq (8.245 Ib)
:,::=:-.':r :he Point of balance of the life the M60 has been manufactured by The M60 is now rn service with
-. the Saco Defense Systems Division of several armies other than the US Army, Lengths: gnrn overall I 105 mm (43 5 in)
:-
-, ^': :rurely wronq, instead many the Maremount CorPoration, which Taiwan not only r.rses the M60 but pro- barrel559 mm (22 in)
5--:-::: ::e]er to use a sling and the
-:r:::- -s 3fien flred on the move was always aware of the shorlcomings duces rt as well. South Korea is another Muzzle velocity: 855 m (2,805 ft) per
'-:-= :::-q steadred by the sling, For of the M60's desiqn, especially rn the Asian operator, while farther south the second
light machine-qun role, Accordingly Australian army also has the M60 in Rate offire: (cyclic) 550 rpm
--.= -::-,::-a:ine-qlm role the M60 is a TYpe offeed: SO-round belt
: :,=-; :... ,l','rtll be rePlaced in the the company has now Produced what
'Bttsting Ccps'- stand why a modern rifle company Is sai -::
have a fire power equai to a World trla: -
infantry brigade. If you are the M60 Qur:r:er

The I'160 inVielnam


you will have made sure that yorrr !r-eapc:- s
firmly posltioned; that means either usrnlr -::
tripod or resting the barrel on tree trunj<s :r
sandbags, If you are firlng through a qrc-.r:-tr-
Iinothing else, Vietnam showed that the best level embrasure, you may be usrng --:ie
In the desperate close-range actions
against theViet Cong, the M60 machine- defence can often be attack, and that flexibllity attached bipod; but you wouJd prefer no: ::
gun teams had to achieve fire can be as important as firepower. Nonetheless because that means you have to use your -el
superiority over awell-armed and
it is best to forget the idea of the M60 being hand to hold the butt into the gnound '";he::
fired from the hrp as film-makers would have it: firing on automatic, and that increases the rs<'
skilful enemy - no easy task with a even though the M60 is exceptronally well ba- of getting your shoulder into too close ccn:a::
comp licated and s ome time s lanced, after only four rounds on automatic it with the butt end, whrch could mean at bes: a
temperamentalweaPon. wilt pull high and to the right, very nasty bruising, at worst a dislocated shor:--
As in ail weapon systems, there is a distinct der, More to the point, unless youare a'nattxa,
In 1884, the prototype Maxim machine-gun gap between the theory and practice of firtng machine-gunner, it will play all sorts of hell -*,t
(water-cooled) weighed 27 Zkg (60 Ib) and the M60, Instructors may (often do) wax lyrical your accuracy when you are firlng on autcn:a-
fired an 11,43-mm (0.45-in) bullet at the rate of about Dangerous Space (the distance a round tic, And as you do not expect to fire on sing.e
600 rounds per minute. In 1984, the M60 or burst remains at a man's height above the shot, you will definitely need to be i',-el'
machine-qun (alr-cooled) weighs 10.4 kq ground); Cones of Fire (shot dispersal around planted. You have loaded with ball animrur-
(23 ]b) and fires a 7.62-mm (O 3-in) buliet also at lines of fire); and the Beaten Zone (pattern of tion, with tracer in reserve, In the daytrme ycu
the rate of 600 rounds per minute Add the descending shots). But the M60 machine- might have both lncendiary and spo::er
tripod, and you have a total weight ol 23 6 kg gunner in the US Army (or any machine- ammunition in reserve, but you certainly wor:-a
(52 ]b) gunner, for that matter) is interested in accura-
-y, reliability, maintenance, how easy it is to not need armour-piercing: ii the enemy dc
The main difference between the two are, of have any AFVs, they keep them well tudden
course, accuracy and reliabilltyi but the tactic- fire and how easy it is to carry. For rts size, the As an M60 gunner, you have an E4 speciais:
al use (particularly in the US Army) remains the M60 scores well on all points, as well it mlght, rating. It is not a command rank, but it does p-;:
same: the rnachine-gnrn is primarily a static because it owes much of its design to the you firmly in charge of (i,e. responsible for) ':e
defensive weapon, oniy oifensively used to famous German World War II machine-grun, qun; you are the head man of the three-rna::
provide fire-support for advancing infantry.in the MG42, an updated version of which is strll in crew the M60 requires. In fact, you are n::
ihe case of the M60; thrs has as much to do with servlce with the West German army as the expectinq to be called tonight; there ate nc
the United States' strategic doctrine as to tac- MG3. So, remembering that no comparisons heavy enemy troop concentrations in the area
trcs: the USA is perceived only as fighting a wlth British Bren, LMG or possibly even the so the most you can expect is a sniper, or a le-.r
defensive war (as in the instance of NATO GPMG should be made, we should now take a rounds of mortar fire or possibly an artiliery
forces facing a Warsaw Pact advance), and look at the M60 in action, And where else to barrage, And there will not be very much iha:
overall, the USA relies on firepower over flex' look but the M60 in Vietnam. you can do about those, at least in yow presen:
ibility and manoeuvrabilitY, A rifle company has harboured up for the posltion,
night. With two M60s per platoon (three or four
As the US Armyre- platoons per company) plus at least a couple M60s are still encountered in South EastAsia;
equipswithanew more M60s belonginq to company HQ, plus the many were handed over to pro-American local
Kevlar helmet and new 12,7-mm (0 5-1n) machine-guns that have been forces, while many more were captured bF various
body armour, the 7.62- dismounted from the personnel carriers, plus gaerrilla and other forces.This exanplewas
mm(0.30-in)M60 mortars, plus rockets, you can begin to under- photographed in North Vietnam in I 975.
machine-giun soldiers
on until the new M279
Minimireplaces itin tr'e={
the lightmachine-gun
role. i:+#
Like soldiers the world over, you have man-
aged to make yourself reasonably comfortable
, , , until your'sergeant walks over to tell you
that your sqLiad is going out on ambush tonight
and would you (please) be ready to move out in
20 mlnutes.
The first thing you do is check your weapon
Never mind that you checked it only that after-
noon; rf it breaks down in a company slrong-
point, at least there are a minimum of seven
other M60s (not to mention the 12,7-mm/0,5-in
M2s) to take up the slack while you site a new
weapon. On this ambush there wrll only be one
M60 because at nlght, in the jungle, two M6Os
will get in each other's way, probably end up
shooting their own troops. Your number two
carries the spare parts and cleaning kit, and
although everythrng checks out OK, you de-
crde to change the barrel, It only takes two
seconds (you once dld it in 1,5 in trarning) and it
is not as if you are being wasteful, because your
number two always has at least three spare
barrels wrth hrm. Twenty minutes later, and
you are ready to move out.
Your M60 (or 'pig' as you have come to call it)
is slung around your neck and shoulders, Spare

Below: The M60 was known as 'the Pig' to the men


who had to lugitthrough the jungle, butit
provided the squadwith tremendous firepower.
Shooting in combatwas dubbed'busting caps', a
derisive reference to playingwith cap guns as
children.

Above: AVietnam M60 is seen in actionwith an cause jams at the most diflicultmoments, and it
tmprovised addition to the ammunitionfeed to was normal for one man towatch the feed at all
ensure a trouble-free entry of the belt into the times to avoid troubles.
,,veapon. Snagged or twisted belts could often

i::!.:.r, .h\ i,
.:, 1

i .': rf .': !, rrR. i

t//
lt,
bands of ammunition also cnss-cross your follow the steps of the man in front ,, , not
shoulders, and you are carrylng a box of always easy to do at night in the jungle,
ammunition in your left hand. Your number two Your sergeant signals that you have reached
(a private first class) rs carrying a box in each the ambush pornt, and indicates to you where
hand, plus one on his shoulders, plus spare to set up. The team swings into action, Normal-
parts and the cleaning kit, Your number three ly, it takes less than one minute to be ready to
(a private) ls carrying the tripod (it welghs fire from the moment the trrpod hits the ground,
3 kg/6.71b) and even more ammunitlon than But tonight, as you will be firing down the track,
your number two, Tonight the sergeant has towards the approaching enemy (no point in
decreed that all other squad members will also firrng from the side of the track because you
carry spare ammunition for the M60 (no won- would be too close to get in a proper burst),
der ihey call it a 'pigr') and it will be our number your weapon has to be clamped on a fixed line
three's job to make sure the spare ammunition of fire otherwise you might end up spraying
is centralized and avallable when you need it, your own squad, Now, with your weapon fixed,
Moving through the night, the two places you ammunition stacked around you, your number
do not walk are point and rear, As far as possi- two besrde you, everyone and everythtng
b1e, your squad will provide a shield for you camouflaged up, you sit behind your 'pig' and
until you are in position; you carry the major wait, And wait, And wait, And you are probably
firepower, and are thus the most vulnerable to strll wartrng when dawn breaks , , , unless, just
a sniper's bullet. The track your squad is follow- for once, intelligence was I0O per cent accu-
ing runs through dense primary jungle, It is rate and the enemy drd appear,
supposedly clear of mines and booby traps,
because the enemy uses it for a courier and Right: During theVietnamWar theM60 btecame a
virtual symbolof the Americanpresence in the
supply route; even so, possibly you reflect that conflict, as cametamen tended to become
one of the good points about being hrgh on a attracted by the military and aggressive
sniper's target list is that someone else rs liable appearance of theweapon.ltwas widely used in
to step on a mine before you do. So long as you Vietnam, as its high rate of fire was used as a
keep in single file, that is, and make sure to counter to the elusive guerrilla targets.

,,=... -4f,
"=: -- &.
!I
'.*.

l:iii:.:. lr:i:.+'
lliii:::::
:ir:ii::i:'.r.
'Busting Caps'- The M60 inVietnam

Assuming they did, the firefight would prob- So, if intelligence has been correct, the ter you or even firing back. And covering fire
ably have been over very quickly. First, your firefight has probably lasted less than a minute expends an enormous amount of ammunition
weapon has an effective range of up to 1000 m belore the enemy have been kilied, captured because often you do not have a firm target.
(1,100 yards, which means that at l00m (110 or have srmply melted away into the surround- So, whether successful or not, your squad
yards) it is one of the most effective weapons ing darkness, And if that has happened, you makes its way back to base. This has probably
available, with a stopplng power that is close to wonder (not for the first time) why so much been the last ambush you will go ofi, because
being awesome; and second, no one stays spare ammunltron is always carried. The you are due for a transfer to helicopter gunner,
around for too long when they are facing the answer is slmple, Your weapon is the pnncipal, Probably'someone' has noticed how accurate
wrong end of an M60. While most armies teach indeed the only, weapon capable of providing you are, and firing an M60 from a Huey needs
an Immediate Action drill on berng ambushed fire support for your squad, Your role ls not accuracy, In fact, when the M60 was first used
that entails charging through the ambushing simply to kilI the enemy but to save the lives of on 'choppers', lt was attached to the skids,
enemy, it is a very brave, lucky or foolhardy your fellow soldiers, That means covering fire, which meant it could only fire in the direction
soldier that manages to charge any machine- when you try to make the enemy keep their the chopper was pointing. But now it is
Sun , , , and llves to tell the tale. heads down and think twice about chasing af- mounted on a pintle by the door that allows you
three-way movement; you will soon learn at
training school how to use that movement to I
compensate for the movement of the Huey,
Whatever happens, you seem destrned to
stay an M60 gunner, unless you are promoted
away from it, You might call rt a 'pig', but it is
more accurate and more comforting than an
M16, In fact, it is as accurate as the old MI rifle;
old soldiers in the US army talk about that
weapon in the same way as their British coun-
terparts talk about the Lee Enfield,
Left: The machine-guns carried on these BellIlH-
lDs were special versions of the M60, known as the
M60D. The M60D was mounted on a pintle and had
no butt, and used a special accessory on the feed
mechanism . I t was widely used in Vietnam for area
suppression lire and many M60Ds were mounted
on the exterior ofvehicles.

buffer Iocking plate actuating cam roller operating rod

barre,,:'lr r{

tngger prn

trigger

hflng prn sPnng sear plungel trigger spring operatl ng rod d rive s. - - .
?

t
I

Above : An M 60 light machine-gun team in action


during troop exercrsesin Soulh Korea, where the
M60 is used notonly by theUS Army and Marine
Corps but also by the Republic of Korea (ROK)
troops. Other nations thatuse the M60 include fiash suppressor
Australia andTaiwan, and some have passedinto
gruerrilla hands, including the IRA.

barrel

i .11..*'

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t,t}.$
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gas port pluq gas cylrnderextension i*€


i elE
lt;:
:-.-;
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T.g2-mm t.160 AI
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fs-:i
SINGAPORE

5.56-mm CIS Ultima:< 100


The relatively small natron of Singa- The Ultimax I 00 Mark 3 light
pore has rn recent years become a machine-gun is a small and light
major member of the rnternational de- weapon that is ideally suited for
fence mat6riel market. Starting from m any S outh E as t Asian arme d
virtually nothing, Singapore has rapid- forces. It is light and easy to
]y built up a defence manufacturing handle and after aperiodof
industry and amonq recent products development is now a reliable and
has been a light machine-gun called efficientweapon.It is now in full-
the CIS Ultimax 100 or 3U-100. scale production in Singapore.
The Ultimax lO0 can trace its origins
back to 1978, To provide a framework
in which to work, the newly-formed Specification
Chartered Industries of Singapore Ultimax I00
(CIS) had obtained a licehce to pro- Calilore:5,56 mm (0,219 in)
duce the 5,56-mm (0,219-rn) Armalite Weights: gun empty 4,7 kg (10,36 lb);
AR-18 and also the Colt M16A1 rifles, Ioaded with 100-round drum 6.5 kg
Usrng these two weapons as a basis, (14,33lb)
CIS decided to bulld in some ideas of Lengths: overall 1030 mm (40,55 in);
therr own and the Ultrmax 100 was the barrel S0B mm (20 in)
result. Some of the early prototypes Muzzle velocity: (M193) 990 m (3,248 ft)
were less than successful, but dili- persecond
gence and the application of some Rate offire: (cyclic) 400-600 rpm
sound engineering removed the early Type of feed: 100-round drum, or 20- or
problems, and the Ultimax 100 is now 30-round box magazine
regarded as one of the best weapons
in its class.
The Ultrmax 100 fires the M193 5,56- Below : The Illtimax I 00 uses a drum
mm cartridge, although lhere is no magazine holding 100 5.56-mm
reason why it could not be convefied (0.219-in) rounds. Itcan also use 20-
to fire the new SS 109, It is a light or 31-round box magazines. The full
machine-gun that is really light, for CIS 100-round drum can be fitted in only
was understandably keen to produce a I1.6 seconds, butmore drumscan be
weapon suited to the relatrvely light- carried in the special carrier shown
statured personnel found in the Asian here. A bayonetcan be titted and a
world, The result is that the Ultimax 100 silencer is available.
handles very like an assault rifle, CiS
has taken great palns to reduce recoil box magazines can be used in place of
forces 1o a minrmum, and has even rn- the drum.
troduced a feature it calls'constant re- Already accessories for the Ultimax
coil', With this feature the breech 100 abound, Perhaps the most unusual
block does not use the back-plate of of them is a silencer which is used in
the recelver as a buffer, as is normal in conjunction with a special barrel,
many similar designsi instead a system More orthodox items include a special
of springs absorbs the forces and the twin mountinq in which two weapons
result is a weapon that can be handled are secured on their sides with the
with ease and smoothness, The Ulti- drum magazines pointing outwards,
max 100 can be fired from the shoulder One very unusual extra rs a bayonet, a
with no problems at all, feature which few similar weapons
The likeness to an assault rifle is car- possess, Rifle grenades can be fired
ried over to the ammumtlon feed, The from the muzzle without preparation,
Ultimax 100 uses a 100-round drum To date the Ultimax 100 is avatlable
magazine under the body that can be in two versions; the Ultimax 100 Mk 2
changed with the same facility as a with a fixed barrel and the lntimax I00
conventional box magazine. The drum Mk 3 with the easily-chanqred barel.
magazines can be carried in a special More versions are certain, for the Ulti-
webbing carrier, For firing on the max 100 has a most promisinq future. It
move a forward gnp is provided, and is already in service with the Singa-
to make the weapon even handier the pore armed forces and many more na-
butt may be removed, For more accu- tions are showinq a great interest in the
rate firing a bipod is a fixture and the weapon, It rs certainly one of the hand-
barrel change is rapid and easy. If re- iest and most attractlve of the 5.56-mm
quued normal Ml6Al 20- or 30-round light machine-guns.

il f.hz-** pr
3ne very noticeable feature ln Sovtet its exterior. This was flrst seen in 1946, principle, based on the Kalashnikov ern machine.-gnrns, They are r.rsed not
small-arms desrgm is lhe strange mu- and srnce then the IKM has arrived on rotary-bo1t system used in many other only throughout the Red Army but also
:*re of innovation and consewatism the scene; this is an improved version curent Soviet weapons, The interior of by many members of the Warsaw
:ai seems to beset eve'ry generation of the PK that is lighter and simpler rn the PK is populated by surprisingly Pact, The Chinese produce a copy
:: weapons. Despite the impact made construction, The PKS is a PK mounted few parts: there are just the bolV known as the Type 80. Both the PK and
by' the then-novel 7,62-mm (0,3-in)x39 on a tripod which can be used for anti- breech block, a piston and a few the Tlpe B0 have been passed on to
:artridge used in the AK-47 assault aircraft as well as ground fire, The PKT springs, The ammunition feed makes many nations in the third world and
:le family, Soviet machine-gnrns have is a version for use on armoured vehi- up a few more parts, and that is about it, some are now in the hands of 'freedom
::rtinued to use the much more cles, while the PKM is a PK mounted on Thus the PK has few parts to break or flghters',
p:',';erfu1 7,62-mmx 54R cartridge, a bipod, When the PKM is mounted on jam and it is very reliable. When used The one odd thing regarding the PK
;::-ch retains a drstinct rim at its base, a tripod rt becomes the PKMS, The Pffi in the light machine-qun role the series is the retention of the old rim-
-:-= nm was origdnally used for extrac- has the usual butt and trigTger mechan- ammunition is normally carried in a med 7.62-mm cartridgre. Even the con-
lom the old Mosin-Nagant rifles
-:r ran be traced back to 1895, if not ism replaced by spade grips and a metal box slung under. the grun. For sewatrve Bntish discarded theu be-
--:-3: 'butterfly' tdgger arrangement. tripod operation variable lengths of loved 7,7-mm (0,303-in) cartridqre de-
:-=::le. but the same round is used for The PK appears to be all things to a1l belt are used, In the sustained-flre role cades ago, but the Soviets appear to
::-: Red Army's current general- men, and as far as the Red Army is the barrel has to be changed at regmlar be more conservative still. Thns there
;--:p.cse machine-gnm known as the PK concerned it is a true multr-role type: intervals even thougrh it is chromium- originated the odd alliance of the su-
:.:l-3s the PK is used in roles ranginq from plated to reduce wear (a common perb PK machine-gun with all its many
-:ere are several members of the infantry squad support to AFV use in Soviet practice). fine points and a cartridge that was
il- :=ce. The PK rs the basic gun with special mountings, Al1 the PK These PK weapons must rank developed during the l890s.
= :=a; barrel marked by flutes along machine-guns operate on the same among the most numerous of all mod-
I.52-mm PK (continued) Modern Machine-Guns
Specification
?K
Calibre: 7,62 mm (0.3 in)
fleights: gmn empty 9 kg ( 19.84 lb);
:,pod 7. 5 kg ( 16,53 lb); 100-round belt
: 14 kq (5,38 lb)
l,engrths: gmn 1160 mm (45.67 in);
:rrel658 mm (25,91 in)
Muzzlevelocity:825 m (2,707 ft) per
s::ond
Rateoffire: (cyclic) 690-720 rpm
Type offeed: 100-, 200- and 250-round
:elts

The Soviet7.62-mm (0.30-in) PK


machine-gun is seen here in its light
machine-gun form as the PKM. It is a
simple and sturdy weapon with few
moving parts, and is widely used by
m any W ar s aw P act arme d forces and
otlter forces around theworld.

il z.hz-** RpK
fires exactly the same 7.62-mmx39 does not have a mounting bracket for a some nations sympathetic to the Sovre:
arnrnunition as the assault rifle, but the bayonet, way of thinkrng, and needless to sa-;
commonality goes further, Some spare Consrdering that the weapon is in- the RPK has found its wav into tt-e
parts can be interchanged between tended as a light machine-qrun, it is hands of many 'freedom fighters'. RPKs
the two weapons, and any soldrer who surprising that the RPK does not have were observed during the recer:
can use the AKM (and that means all of provrsion for changing the barrel when fighting in Lebanon and more ha-,.e
them) can prck up and fire the RPK it gets hot, In order to ensure the barrel been seen rn action in Angola. Despite
with equal facility, If the special 75- does not overheat, recruits are trained its rate-of-fire limitations, the RPK wil,
round drum magazine ofthe RPK is not to limit burst-firing to about BO shots no doubt be around for many years tc
available any magazine from an AKM per minute, For most tactical purposes come, and the Red'fumy still retairs
can be fitted in its place, One thing the this will be more than adequate, but huge numbers of the type despite the
Soviet soldier will miss if he ever has to there must be times when this flre rate introduction of the RPK-74.
use the RPK in close action is that it will have its disadvantaqes, Apart from
the 75-round drum already mentioned, Specification
there are cuwed box magazines hold- RPK
lng 30 or 40 rounds, Some RPKs have Calibre: 7,62 mm (0,3 in)
been seen with infra-red night siqhts. Weights: gun 5 kg (11.02 1b); Z5-round
A copy produced by the Chinese rs drum 2. I ks (4,63 lb)
knoum as the Type 74. Lengnhs: gnrn 1035 mm (40,75 in);
In recent years the Red Army has barrel 59I mm (23.27 in)
changed its standard rifle calibre to Muzzle velocity:73T m(2,402 ft) per
Seen iere rn the hands of a Bulgarian the new 5.45-mm (0,2146-in)xlB car- second
patatuooper, theRPK is used by trtdge, For this round the AK-74 rifle Rate offire: (cyclic) 660 rpm and
many WarsawPacf armjes as a was developed, and it follows that a (practical) BO rpm
squad fire support weapon. new version of the RPK would follow, It Type of feed: 7S-round drum, or 30-
Developedfrom theAKM, itfires the has now appeared as the RPK-74. and 4O-round box magazines
same 7.62-mm (0. 30-in) ammunition Apart from the scalingr down of some
as the rifle but uses a larger 4)-round parts to suit the smaller calibre, the
box magazine. The barrel cannot be RPK-74 is in overall terms identical The SovietRPK is the standard
changed. with the RPK, Warsaw Pact squad fire support
The RPK appears to be a popular weapon. Itdoesnot have an
weapon with the Red Army and the interchangeable barrel and so is not
many Warsaw Pact natrons to which it capahle of sustained fire. The desigm
has been deltvered, The type appears may beregarded as a development
to be produced in East Germany and of the AKM assault rifle, and it fires
as far as can be determined the RpK is the same 7.62-mm (0.30-in)
strll rn production in the Soviet Union ammunition. A Chinese version is
(and China). It has been handed out to known as the Tlpe 74.

,',::reas the Red Army uses the PK


:.r-:s as a qeneral-purpose machine-
.-r- :le 7.62-mm (0,3-in) RPK is very
:-:,-- a light machine-gun used for
::-:tr support, The RPK was first
..- :r :n 1966 and it may be regarded
=:: enlarqed version of the AKM
-r=-: rille. It has a longer plus
:::::-
and heavier
rhan the AKM, a light
:,:': a but otherwise the RPK is the
:-:-l::',i€dPOIl aS the AKM,
-,-,-s commonality of weapons
r:a.:,: i :neat deal of sense, The AKM
Automatic Firepower On most flashpoint fronts a more fluid and
In such wars the machine-gun is rarely of
more than limited value, for ranges are usually
short and the terrain often prevents vision in
Machine-guns are at the forefront of all
current infantry actions, whether mobile warfare has been apparent, even when any direction for more than a few yards, The
a carefully sheltered enemy rs attacked by an South African defence forces have discovered
silencing guerrilla ambushes or halting
movement in a battle area with
equally prepared force. Such condittons howeve(, that the machine-gun is a powerfui
occurred on several occasions in the Falkland anti-ambush weapon, At any sign of an ambush
su staine d fire. I n many comb at zones, Islands campaign of 1982. There both sides quick bursts of flre from the ubtquttous FN
the lates t modern we apons serre side used the machine-gun to equal effect, but one MAG would soon break up any intended
by side with guns whose desr'grnspre- oddity of that campaign was that both sides attack, In order to provrde themselves with
dateWorldWarll. were using the same weapon, The Argentines superior mobility the South Africans oiten
had the Belgran FN MAG, while the Britrsh moved on trucks or llght armoured vehicles
forces used the Britrsh-made equivalent, the such as the Buffel (Buffalo), and the best coun-
When one considers recent conflicts, a factor L7A2 At times during that short conflict there ter to them was soon drscovered by the guerril-
readrly appreciated ts that the modern were occasions when the machtne-guns pin- las to be the land mine, to which machine-guns
machine-gun has had considerably less effect ned down one side or the other: at Goose do ]ittle.
on the modern battle scene than might have Green, for example, FN MAGs equipped with But the guerrrllas (and especially the SWA-
been expected. In the last few years not many night-vision sights pinned down the attackers PO guerrrllas operatrng out of Angola) did their
wars have settled down to a hefty war of attri- from the Parachute Regiment for long pertods best to provide themselves with machine-guns,
tron, the main exception being, of course, the during the nocturnal operation. But for most of While therr Cuban comrades kept themselves
prolonged and bitter war between iran and the trme the machine-guns were used mainly in and their Soviet-supphed weapons out of the
Iraq, There the old conditions of trench warfare the light machine-gun role, and at the end of tt way as much as possibte, the SWAPO guerril-
have been re-established and there the all heaps ol Argentine FN MAGs were cap- las were left to use whatever they could muster:
machine-gun still retains the malign domt- tured intact, Unhappily they proved to be of captured weapon displays show some very
nance that rt had during World War L Both little benefit to the victors. In the transition from odd relrcs, rangrng from MG34 Io CzechZBvz
sides use a mixture of weapon types. The Iraqts Belgian to British manufacturing methods and 26 weapons, The fact ihat so many of these
rely malnly on Sovret-supplled machine-guns, standards so many changes were introduced machine-guns have been captured by the
whlle the lranians also use Soviet weapons into the L7 that few parts of the Belgtan and South A-fricans is in rtself an indication of how
leavened by an assortment of types culled from Brrtish versions can be interchanged, Thus the little effect they have had on that conflict.
the international weapons market, In this re- war booty was of little use to the British army, Although sporadic outbreaks strll occur, that
latively static campaign ihe conditions are though the ammunition was and still is, little war now seems iikely to be terminated in
often very iike the protracted days of trench Away from the South Atlantic, few people the very near future although no doubt the
warfare in World War I, long periods of inactlv- outside the surrounding areas are aware that a South Africans will remain on their gn:ard for
ity being dramatically interspersed with short nasty little war has been conducted along the some time to come,
periods of horror when the lranians attempt to borders of South Africa and her neighbouring Farther north in Africa, unhappy Eritrea is
use thelr manpower in humanwave attacks, All states. In thrs theatre the South African defence another locatron of protracted guerrilla warfare
too oiten these massed attacks are easily lbrces have been conducting a constant coun- carried out with merciless thoroughness by
broken up by machine-gun lire before they ter-terrorist campaiqn against inflltrating'free- both sides whlle around them hordes of people
can even get close to their target trenches. dom flghter' groups, which have constantly starve to death. Thls is yet another campaign
Happily these scenes are not betng repe- made hmited and small raids into South Alrican where the machine-gnrn can do little more than
ated anywhere else in the world at the moment, territory. boost the morale of one side or another, The
simple fact is that wherever it is fought, guerril-
1a warfare rarely has much use for machine-
gnrns, although it rs conceivable that the new
light machrne-guns might frnd a place for their
comblnation of liqht weight and firepower, Of
course the sudden appearance of a deter-
mined man in the middle of a civilian commun-
ity when he is carrying a machine-gun with
every show of using it can have a numbing
effect on the onlookers. The mere thought of
bursts of machine-gnrn fire in an enclosed area
is usually enough to make anyone obey a ter-
rorist's biddlng, But for the guerrllla such
opportunitres are few and far between,
although IRA terrorists have killed British so1-
diers in Northern lreiand with M60s stolen from
arsenals in the USA, Machine-gmns are not
handy things to carry or to hlde, and as the
emotionai and/or propaganda importance of
the machine-gun to an underground organiza-
tion often appears to be greater than its actual
worth, the possession of such a weapon fre-
quently imposes a deqree of inflexibiiity and
rmmobllity on the group concerned, This also
has happened in Northern lreland, when IRA
terrorists have opted to stand and fight in order
to buy time for others to get the preclous M60 to
a safe house, in some cases this has resulted in
the capture of the M60 by the British army and
the death or imprisonment of the IRA members
concerned,

AnL4A4, the7.62-mmversion of theBren, is seen in


African position on the border of South
a S outh
West Africa. In the struggle against SWAPO the
main aim is to prevent the gruerrillas entering the
country from their sanctuaries in Angola.
Modern Machine-Gr-:ns

American troops from the US Army's componento!


the Allied Mobile Force (Land) (AMF(L)) aWht
from a B ell UH - t helicopter and imme diate ly ta ke
Lbove: A roof mounting for an MG3 is carried on a To many observers, the major shooting war up a defensive positionwith anM60.The grunner is
aundeswehr truck. This form of mougting can be in progress today is that being fought daily in festooned with a spare ammunition belt, whtle his
:sed againstground targets, but is primarily Afghanistan, despite the far more massive con- Number 2 ensures the belt in use is fed cleanly.
ntended for use as an anti-aircraft defence flict in progress not far away on the Iran-lraq
:nounting. 7.62-mm (0. 30 -in) machine-guns are borders. Again, this is a war where the the barrel, All the firer has to do is pull -:-=
r eally too ligh t for an ti- aircraft u s e, bu t have an
:nportant morale role. machine-gun cannot have much effect on the trigger and keep the ammunition feed toppe:
actual fighting, but where it can have a fearful up, As the weapon flres the spread of fue ..
nuisance effect when handled properly, This is such that there is a good chance olhittrng a:-"--
particularly true in the steep mountain valleys thing in the chosen fleld of fire.
where one carefully emplaced machine-gun In NATO there is at present a state of '.ra::s--
can hold up a Soviet supply convoy for hours lion as far as machine-guns are concerr-= j
while the hapless Red Army soldiers and Many nations, includrng the USA and the -1.,
Afghan conscripts attempt to flnd the source of have now chosen to discard the genela--
the frre. Fortunately for the Red Army this does purpose machine-gmn (GPMG) concepi a:-j
not happen often, for the Afghans rely more on are reverting to the old ways of using a :-g:-.
their rrfles for this sort of ambush, In return the maclnne-gun designed for the job of squai -=
Soviet soldiers can do little more than rake the support. This will have the advantage of p::'
surrounding hillsrdes in the hope that some of vidlng the machine-gmnner wrth a far n::::
therr rounds find a bi]]et. manageable load and enable the squad tc c--
The Afghan campaign has seen one retum to
The American M60 machine-gun is used here i n
an old machine-gun tactic, and that is firing the light machine-gun role by a trooper of the 82nd
upon flxed 1lnes. During World War I machine- Airborne Division. The ammunition feed belt can
guns were often set up to flre on locatlons be clearly seen, and both in action and on the move
where an enemy was 1ikely to be, rather than to it can be something of a nuisance as it tends to
undertake aimed fire at a deflnite target. Thts snag anything nearby; the belts can cause jams
ploy was often used at night (when the target whentwisted.
was in any case invisrble) and at least it had the
advantage that it was likely to deny an easy exit
or access point to the enemy, In Afghanistan
this practice has once more been found useful,
The Afghan guerrillas often creep up to an
AJqhan army or Soviet outposl and open flre
with rockets or rifles in order to harass or de-
moralize rather than destroy anything impor-
tant. These missions are usually carried out at
night, when the defenders cannot readtly see
the attackers, so here a few prelaid machine
gmns covering likely approach routes or deliles
are simply fired ofl The machine-guns are em-
placed on tripods with their barrels elevated to
the correct degree and with their muzzles kept
on target by the use of stakes on each stde of
Left: The uniform of the Bundeswehr Gebirgsj dger
and theretentionof theMG3 for currentuse, many
years after its World War II predecessor the MG42
first appeared , gives the mountain warfare
division of the West German army a definite
wartime air; but it is simply a case of using the best
uniform and weapon for the j o b.
# ;.

if ; ..F-j
3' :r-j
. lffl

'.,€="+n.

ry just one type of ammunition At present a support. Thus the Red Army has for long used a An LTAL is seen on its buffered tripod for the
squad going into action has to carry ammuni- mix ol APK assault rifles and RPK machrne sustained fire role. The tripod uses a sprhgr
tion packed into magazines or into belts, which rifles, the latter being used as rather light mounting to absorb the gun's recoilforces to keep
means two loqistic loads instead of one. In fu- LMGs, The term light is used advrsedly, for the the gun on its selected firing line for long periods
ture the squad fire-support weapon and the RPK cannot deliver heavy bursts of flre, The without having to constantly re-sight the weapon.
standard weapon will use the same box maga- Red Army relies upon the PK for thls role,
zrnes, with all the iogistic advantages that this which perhaps defeats the object at times, for The MG3 and ifspredecessor, the World War I I
MG42, are widely used outside NATO and some
entails. A11 thrs is nothing new to the Red Army, the PK uses a drfferenl ammunition and is also a
have turned up in guerrilla hands all over the
which was well to the fore in its post war tactrc- much heavier weapon, But already the RPK is world. The bulk of these are old MG42s from
al analysis and many years ago decided not in the process of being replaced in the Red various stocks, but without looking at markings
cnly to adopt the GPMG concept but also de- Army's front-hne units by the RPK-74 flring the and detail points they are difficult to differentiate
velop a special machine rifle for squad f,re new 5.45-mm (0.2146-in) round. from the modern MG3s.

.'.:t

w
{'l*.,*q
re
',.,,::.

ffi
PI

b tr
ffird *
#he rr
t *;

-ry,

;*'
>K
-,','hen
[.oe-** Bren Gun Modern Machine-Guns
considering modern machine-
:Jls, rt seems somethrng of a surprise
'-:-at a weapon as old as the Bren Gun
::culd be included, especially as this
-.teapon can be traced back as far as
:e early 1930s, But the original Bren
l':ns were chambered for the 7.7-mm
, 303-in) rimmed cartridqe, and when
:-e decision was made to convert to
--e new standard NATO 7,62-mm (0.3-
:-; cartridgre the British armed forces
=--11had large stockpiles of the Bren
,1'rn to hand. It made sound commer-
:,a1 sense to conved them for the new
:ahbre, and such a prognamme was
:.cn put rnto effect at the Royal Small
-:-rms Factory at Enfield Lock in Mid-

The conversion to the new calibre


=:rtailed a complete overhaul, but the
.ask was made easier by the fact that
::ring World War II a Canadian com-
:ary produced numbers of Bren Guns
-:7.92-mm (0,3i2-in) calibre for China.
-r-s thr,s round was rimless, it was found teries, by the Royal Siqnals for the de- shape of the old weapon. The latestversion of the venerable
-:at the breechblocks intended for the fence of its rnstallations in the fieid, by For the antl-arrcraft role the L4A4 wartime Bren gun is the British L4A4.
lhina contract' were equally suitable units assigined for home defence and has been fitted with some fairly soph- chambered for the N ATO 7. 6 2 -mm
-:: the new 7.62-mm cartridqe and so on The L4A4 is also used by the isticated sighting aranqements, The (0.30-in) round. Ithas a new barrel,
:ese were used in place ofthe oriqdn- Royal Air Force and averston known L4A4 does not use a tripod as did the breech block and a newvertical 30-
:;. A new barrel was produced with a as the L4AS is used by the Royal Narry. old Bren Gu;rs, but instead rt can be round box magazine and is nowused
::romium-plated interior, This not There is also a version known as the mounted on the roof hatches of self- by support and second-line British
::Jy diminished wear on the barrel but L4A3 that is not often encountered as it propelled guns and howitzers as well Armyunits.
rso reduced the need for the frequent is a conversron of the old Bren Mk 2 as on other armoured vehicles
:arrel-changes
-,',-ar
required on World gnrn; the L4A4 is a conversion of the So the old Bren G-rn soldiers on in a Specification
II versions, Thus the new qn-m was rmproved Bren Mk 3, new form, and there seems to be no L4A4
-:sued with only the one barrel. In all these versions the gas- sigin of its passing from use in the fore- Calibre: 7,62 mm (0.3 in)
The current version of the Bren Gun operated mechanism of the onqinal seeable future. Many of the Common- Weights: qun only 9 53 kg (2 L 1b);
'--.ed by the Britlsh Army is the L444. Bren Gun remains unchanqed. So few wealth natlons still use the Bren, some batrel?,7Z ks (6 lb)
-:--rs is not used as a front-line infantry are the changes rnvolved in the in its origrnal 7.7-mm form, so althouqrh Lengrths:gun 1133 mm (44 6 rn); barre,
',','eapon, but instead is issued to the changre ofcalibre that the only points of the original desrgn may be oid the 536 mm (21.I in)
::any other arms of the service who nole are lnat the'1 62.mm version uses weapon is still regarded as effective Muzzle velocity: 823 m (2 700 ft) per
::quire a machine-gnrn. Thus the L4A4 a nearly-vertrcal maerazine in piace of and in its L4A4 form the old Bren Gun is second
. :sed by the Royal Artillery for anti- the old curved equivalent, and the as good as many far more modern de- Rate offire: (cyclic) 500 rpm
and ground-defence of its bat- muzzle lacks the pronounced cone slgns. Tlpe offeed: 30-round box
=craft

ffi H.SO-** Liqrht Support Weapon (tSW)


::r many years the standard squad
--qrht machine-gmn for the British army
:-as been a versron of the FN MAG
--ed with a bipod and known as the
--A2. While this is a flne weapon, it is
:a:her a cumbersome load and rt flres a
:=ridge that is now generally consi-
r:red too powerful for the squad-
:-pport roie. With the imminent arrival
,- rhe Enfield Weapon System (or
Lali fums 80, otherwise SA B0), the
*--i2 is due to be replaced in the
.;:ad support role by a new weapon
:-,rrently known as the XL73E2 Light
S"ipport Weapon or LSW; the L7A2 will
:: retained for the sustained-fire func-
--::, or some years to come,
-:-e LSW is one half of the Enfield
", ::!on System, the other component
:=i:3l the Individual Weapon or IW,
',-:: wrll be the standard rifle while
-,= -SW will become the squad-
.-::ort weapon, The two new
--=-a:ns have many thinqs tn common
: r l1I be easrly recognized as com- With the FN rifle about to be the same calibre to replace the FN
, : rrl:r the same stable, but the LSW replaced by the 5.56-mm Individual MAG general purpose machine-gun.
'-- : :eavier barrel and a liqht bipod Weapon, the BritishArmy is The latter will be retained for the
: ,:- :C well forward under the bar- adopting a squad support weapon of sustained fire role.
:=. :-=re is also a rear grip under
,' --= :--,lrht be reqtarded as the butt to the pistol grip for the trrqqer are touqh cartridge, which ln turn was super- Seen here in front of the GPMG is the
:i ,r: re flrer with a better hold for nylonite, The LSW uses the same seded yet again in favour of the new 4.85-mm version of the Light Suppor:
, ----:--:i filng magazine as the IW, namely a stan- NATO standard 5.56-mm (0.219-in) SS Weapon, produced to complement
:,= ::n butt is rather misleadinq as dard Ml6AL 3O-round box, 109 The first production versions will the proposed 4.85-mm rifle. When
.'- ,!-.',- -s based on a'bullpup layout The LSW has undergone several be for the SS 109 round and will also NATO adopted the Belgian 5.56-m:'n
--,' ----:: .he trigger group is placed changes of calibre since it was first have an optical sight known as the round as sfandard, the 4.85-mm
: =-: :- .le magazine. This arrange- mooted. Originally it was calibred for Sight Unit Small Arms TrilLx or SUSAT designs were abandoned d e spite
-': - :--es the LSW more compact the British experimental 4,85-mm mounted on a bracket over the receiv- the ir superior pe rf orm anc e.
- . r:1-.,ent1onal weapon, Much of (0,19-in) cartridge, but thts was over- er, It will be possible to changre this
r - -:-,..' . steel but the foregrrip and ruled in favour of the American M193 slght for some form of night sight.
5.56-mm Light Suppofi Weapon (LSW) (continued)

The Light SupportWeapon shares


many componentswith the 5.56-mm
ri{le; obvious differences are the
heavy barrel, the bipod and the reat
grip. The LSW uses fie same
magazine as the IndividualWeapon
- the 30-round M I 6A I box.

Various accessories will be avail-


able for the LSW once it gets into ser-
vice, which should be some time dur-
ing 1985 if the current trrals go wel1, A
training adapter firing low-powered
ammunition will be avarlable, as will a
blank-flrrng attachment. A multi-
pupose tool is already in use for strip-
ping and first-line reparrs, and it will
be possible to flt a sling for carrying.
The muzzle attachment is so arranged
that it is possible for rtfle grenades to
be fired from the muzzle, although lt is
not envisaged that the LSW will be other considerations. By the time it Specification Lengrths: overall900 mm (35.43 in);
r:sed extenslely for this purpose. reaches the hands of the troops in the tsw barrel646 mm (25,43 in)
The LSW has undergone a prot- near future the LSW should be an ex- Calibre: 5,56 mm (0.219 in) Muzzle velocity: 970 m (3, 182 ft) per
racted development period, some of cellent weapon with no bugs left to iron Weights:gmn complete and loaded second
the period being elongated by the out, 6,88 kg (15. 17 Ib); gnrn less magazine Rate offire: (cyclic) 700-850 rpm
change of NATO standard calibre and andsiqht 5.6 ks (12.346 Ib) Type offeed: 30-round box magazine

lI ?.Hl** AA s2
qrooves that allow gas to enter be- design has therefore been adapted to
tween the chamber wall and the fired fire the NATO cartrrdge in a version
cartridge to prevent 'sticking', and a known as the NF-I, Some of these have
cartddge fired from an AA 52 can al- been issued to French army units, but
ways be recognized by the fluted exports have not materialized.
grooves around the case neck. Overall the AA 52 is an adequate
time the French army was equipped The AA 52 can be fired from a bipod machine-gun, but it has many features
with a wide array of American, Brittsh or a tripod, but when a tripod is used (some of them regarded by some na-
and ex-German weapons, and the fur- for the sustarned flre role a healry bar- tions as inherently unsafe) that are at
nishing of suppofi and spares for this rel is fltted to the weapon, When used best undesirable, The weapon is no
affay was too much for the army, whictt in the light machine-gnrn role the AA 52 longer in production but is still offered
decided to adopt one standard gener- is a rather clumsy weapon to cary, for export,
al-purpose machine-gnrn, The result especially if a 5O-round ammunition
was the 7.5-mm (0,295-in) AA 52, a box rs carried on the left-hand side, Specification
weapon designed from the outset for For this reason the box rs often left off AA52
ease of production, and thus making and the ammunition belt allowed to Calibre: 7,5 mm (0.295 in)
much use of stampings and welded hang free, One unusual feature of the Weights: with bipod and light barrel
components. AA 52 is that for the light machine-gnrn 9.97 kq (21.98 lb ); wlth blpod and
The AA 52 is unusual among modern role a monopod is fltted under the butt, hearrybarrel 11,37 kg (25.07 1b); tripod
machine-gn:ns in relying on a form of This can be awknrard at trmes, and 10 6 kq (23 37 Ib)
deiayed-blowback operation, tn another awkward point is the barrel Lengrths: with butt extended (light
which the force of the cartridge firing change: the barrel can be removed barrel) 1145 mm (45,08 in) or (heavy
is employed to force back the breech readily enough, but the bipod is per- barrel) 1245 mm (49.02 in); ltght barrel
biock to the starting position, and also manently attached to the barrel and in only 500 mm (19,69 in); heavy barrel
to power the feed mechanism, This the light machine-gun role this can only 600 mm (23,62 in)
system works very well with pistol car- make barrel-changing very difflcult, Muzzlevelocity:840 m (2,756 ft) per
tridges in sub-machine gnrns, but using especrally as the AA 52 barrels have second
rifle cartridges in machine-guns de- no form of barrel plating that might Rate offire: (cyclic) 700 rpm
mands something more positive safe-
rf reduce the temperature ofthe gnrn and Type offeed: 50-round belt
ty is to be regarded. On the AA 52 a barrel,
hvo-pad block is used: a lever device The AA 52 was originally intended The French AA 52 uses a delayed
rs so arranged that it holds the forward to fire a 7.5-mm (0.295-in) cartridge blowback mechanism with a fluted
part of the block in posrtion while the first developed for use by the mle 1929 chamber to ease exfuaction.47.62-
rear half starts to move to the rear; only light machine-gnrn, This cartridge is mm (0.30-in) version known as the
when the lever has moved a predeter- powerful enough, but the switch to the 4A7.62NF-l mayalsobe
mined drstance does it allow the for- NATO 7.62-mm (0,3 in) cartridge left encountered, but neither model is
ward part of the block to move back, In the Prench army usrng a non-standard now in production. Bipod and tripod
order to make the spent cartndge cartddge, and export prospects for the versions are in use, as are vellbje-
easier to extract the chamber has AA 52 were thus reduced. The basic mountedmodels.

A.fuve : T he F re nch F oreign Leg ion


use exactly the sameweapons as the
rest of the French army and so the AA
52 machine-grun, seen here inits light
machine-gun form, is a familiar sight
wherever the legion operates.

-:-: nachirie-gun now known as the


AA 52 was designed and develoPed
r'-:iJy as a result of the Indo-China
:.=::parems of the early 1950s. At that
Modern Machine-Gums
Heckler & Koch machine-guns
l:-: West German concern Heckler &
.l-::h, based at Oberndorf-Neckar, ts
=i:cnq the most prolific of all modern
r:,all-arms designers, and in addition
--- :'s successful range of assault n{les
j
-- sub-machine gnrns it also produces
=-nde variety of machine-En:ns. 1t may
:e ar oversimplification, but Heckler
i Koch machine-guns are basically
:-:Crfied versions of the company's G-
: :rd associated assault rifles, They all
-= the same delay-roller mechanism
::- their breech blocks, and some of
:e light machine-guns are simply
::es with heavier barrels and a bipod,
l: confuse the issue, Heckler & Koch
;:cduce virtually every model tn belt-
The Heckler & KochHK 1I is the box magazine feedvariant of the HK 2l and is a 7.62-mm (0.30-in) weapon.
--d magazine-fed versions, and some
::e produced tn 7.62-mm (0.3-in)
l.-4.TO or 5.56-mm (0.219-in) calibres,
-.I]l the added variation in the latter
r:: the new SS 109 cartridge or the
:-der American M193.
One of the 'base' models in the range
. the 7.62-mm HK 2141, a develop-
::-ent of the earlier HK 21 whlch is no
-::rger in productron. The HK 2IA1
*.es a belt feed and may be used as a
-qht machine-gun on a bipod or in the
--:stained-fire
-=::er,
role on a tripod, For the
barrel changing is incorporated,
:-;en in this version of the Heckler &
1:ch range the outline of the G-3 rs
--pparent, and this is carried over to the
-=:est versions of the HK 21, the HK 2IE,
r;ach has a longer sight radius and a
:ree-round burst selection feature,
l:e barrel is longer, and changes TheHeckler &KochHK 13 is producedin severalversions.Thismodel accommodates a41-roundbox magazine.
:ive been made to the ammunition
:eed. There is also a 5,57-mm counter-
:art to this variant, and this is known as
-:-e HK 23E.
AII the variants mentloned above
=:e belt-fed weapons, There is also a
::agazine-fed version for every one of
----em: the HK IIAI IS the magazine
:::.$terpart of the HK 21A1, whlle the
-fi IlE and HK I3E are the magazine
--:.:rrterparts of the HK 2lE and HK
:.iE.
A1l this may sound rather confusing,
::: the basic factor that emerges is the
.:l-rty of Heckler & Koch to produce a
:.chine-gnrn suited to virtually any re-
;---:ement. The belt-fed versions may
:= regarded as general-purpose
:::chine-guns (although the 5.56-mm The Heckler & Koch HK 13E has a three-round burst capability as well as fuL[ automatic fire.
';::sions may really be too light for the
rj:amed-fire role), and the magazine-
,=i versions as true hght machine-
. --. They offer a surprising amount of
parts, and
---:::changeability of spare
:: :nagazines are usually the same as
::se used on ther equivalent assault
:':s making the use of the automatic
;-- as squad support weapons even
:::_at.

Speeification
E2IAl
la:bre:7.62 mm (0,3 tn)
fi':rghts: gnrnwrth bipod 8,3 kg
,: : -b): barrel 1,7 kq (3,75 lb); 100-
: - -;ammunition box 3.6 kg (7 94 lb)
i,,e:gths:overall 1030 m (40.55 tn); TheHeckler & Koch HK 2l is no longer produced, but is still in usewith nations such as Portugal.
::::=-i50 mm(17,72 in)
lft-le velocity: 800 m (2,625 ft) per
:s::::-tr
Ia: cf Ere: (cyclic) 900 rpm
T-;e cf feed: 1OO-round belt

:Ye iK 2 I Ai is a development of the


s::er HK 2 L It uses a belt feed only,
::€ b€/t car be contained in a box
.irrif
;:.u:g under fie receiver.
E }:'6;-H;MG3
One of the outstandinq machine-grun were simply modified to this calibre can be used on a tripod that is virtually Within NATO the MG3, or one or
designs of World War II was the MG42, with the designation MG2 but rn para- tdentical to the original, and the twin other of its variants, are used by the
a weapon that introduced the advan- llel with this activity a production prog- mountinq for anti-arrcraft use could still Bundeswehr, by the ltalian armed
tages of mass production to an area of ramme was under way by Rhernmetail accommodate the MG42 without trou- forces, and by nations such as Den-
weapon design that had for long clung to produce new weapons in 7,62-mm ble, There are now available many mark and Norway, Portugal makes the
to tradrtional methods of construction callbre, There were several variants of mountings for the MC3. MG3 for use by the Portugnrese armed
With the MG42, the new era of steel this production version, all having the The original MG42 was designed for forces, and is now offering the type for
pressings, welds and the elimination of designation MGI, althouqh there were ease of mass production, and this same export, Thr.rs from many sources the
many machining processes was allied some mlnor changes to suit ammuni- feature makes the MG3 very suitable old MG42 design soldiers on, There is
to an excellent desiqn that attracted tion feed and so on, The current pro- for manufacture in some of the less even talk of further development to
widespread respect and attention. duction version is the MG3, still manu- well-equipped arsenals that now produce a lighter version, but this is
Thus, when the Federal Republic of factured by Rheinmetall abound in 'third-world' nations. The proceedinq at a low priority, for the
Germany became a member ofNATO In appearance, the warlime MG42 MG3 has proved to be relatrvely easy basic desrgrn of the MG3 is still as
ald was once more allowed a measure and the MG3 are identical apart from for such facilities and it is now licence- sound as it ever was, and any attempt
of weapon production for rearmament, some minor details, few of which can produced in nations such as Pakrstan, to improve or .modify the original
the MG42 was one of the first designs be detected by the untrained eye, and Chile, Spain and Turkey; some ofthese appears to many to be an exerclse ab-
to be resurrected. there are more chanqes between the nations fabricate versions of the MGl out as fruitful as redesiqning the wheel,
The original MG42 had a calibre of MGl and MG3 Overall, however the rather than the MG3 proper. Yuqtosla-
7.92 mm (0,312 in), but with the adop- modern MG3 retains all the attributes via also produces a version of this Specification
tion of the standard NATO 7,62-mm of the oriqinal, and many of the mount- weapon, but the Yugoslav model is a MG3
(0.3-in) round the old design was re- inqs used with the MG3 are just direct copy of the MG42, still 1n 7.92- Calibre:7.62 mm (0,3 in)
worked to accommodate the new adaptations or modifrcations of the mm calibre and desigrnated SARAC Weights: basic qnrn 10,5 kg (23. 15 lb);
calibre, At flrst stockpiled MC42s World War II originals, Thus the MG3 MI953. bipod0,55 kg(1,213 lb); barrel 1,8 kg
(3 97 rb)
tengths: gn:n with butt ]225 mm
(48,23 in); gnrnlessbutt 1097 mm
(43,19 in); barre]531 mm(20,91 in)
Muzzle velocity: 820 m (2,690 ft) per
second
Rate offire: (cyclic) 700- 1,300 rpm
Tlpe of feed: 5O-round belt

The West German MG3 is the


mod ern ver sion of the w ar time
MG42, and is currently rated as one
of the best machine-guns of its type
used by NATO. I t has a high rate of
fire and an easy and rapid barrel
change, and canbefiredfrom the
bipod shown or from a heavy tripod
for the sustained fire supportrole.

7.62-mm Uirapuru Mekanika


Over recent decades Brazil has the light machine-qun role. It uses a Specification Weight: with butt and bipod 13 kg
:hanqed from being a defence- conventional qtas-operated mechan- Uirapuru Mekanika (2B 66 rb)
equrpment importer to a nation that lsm with an ofihodox belt feed for the Calibre: 7,62 mm (0.3 in) Lengrths: with butt 1300 mm (51.2 in);
exports over 95 per cent of its defence ammunition, and the barrel can be barrel600 mm (23.62 in)
rdr.rstry's produce. The nation has un- changed rapidly usinEr a handle that T he Brazilian 7.62 -mm (0.30-in) Muzzie velocity: 850 m (2,789 ft) per
Coubted talent for the defence-based also acts as a carryinqt handle for the Uirapuru Mekanika is the first second
-:dustdes, and in an effort to harness weapon. The receiver of the weapon is locally - produ ced m achine- gun Rate offire: (cyclic) 650-700 rpm
scme of this talent to productng small very simple, beinq little more than a design to enter production, and Type offeed: 5O-round belt
arns a design team was established in length of tube containing the breech although it appears at first sight to be
--:e early 1960s to develop a qeneral- block and its return sprrng. What rather long it is an efficient and
p:npose machine-gun. This first de- appears to be a rectangular receiver Is
s:gn team was led by a team of three in fact the ammunition feed mechan-
e).-peds, but while its initial destgns ism. The method of tapping off gas
-.';orked they had many inherent prob- from the barrel is also simple, No Eas
-:;is. These were too numerous for the regnrlating block or valve is used, the
pcssrloitity of acceptance by the Brazi- gas impinqeing drrectly onto the re-
prob- turn mechanism, No provision appears
-an anny, who turned the design
-:n over to a private concern, This to have been made for finnq single
:a:ed no better than the original team, shots.
s: cne of the original triumvirate took The barrel of the Uirapuru has a
:',-er the project on his own, large pepperpot-type muzzle brake
Jsrng the facilities of a design and and it is recommended that the barrel
:esearch establishment, this indivrdual is chanqed after every 400 rounds
:pproach worked, Thus there have been fired. Most of the parts
:r:erged a design now known as the appear to require some machining,
Uirapuru Mekanika after a Brazilian which should ensure a rugged con-
"-:gie brd, The Uirapwu is a general- srruction. The BrazLlian army gave lts
;'-r!\ose machine-gun frring standard approvai to the Uirapuru after lenqthy
l'-:-lO 7.62-mm (0.3-in) ammumtion It trials and the type s now being pre-
:-- be used as a light machine-gnrn
-,'-- jr a butt and bipod, or it can be flred
pared for full production at a factory
near Rio de Janeiro. If past Brazilian
::r. a heavy tnpod for the heavy salesmanship is any gmide, it will not
::a::he-gmn role, It can also be fltted be long before the frrst examples are
;;: a solenoid for use as a co-axial seen outside Brazil, for if the Uirapuru
T:apon on armoured vehicles, and it can withstand the varied combat con-
:-- be adapted to firing from anumber ditions that can be encountered rn Bra-
:: :-:er mounts, zil it wrll put up with virtually anything,
-:. appearance the Utrapuru is a and the simple construction certainly
::-:er long, ulgainly{ooking weapon, should keep the price of a weapon
=:pecially when fitted with a butt for down.
Armed Forces of the World

lran
: rcethefallof thelateShahof lrar '.:--:-. -379.
':^ has been ruled by a gro"p:''.':s:-'-'-
:,rrentalists, and in this lact lie tr: -: - i1':- 3:-s
:rd weaknesses of the modern 'z' z^ z'-ed
':-ces Tne strengths inc'ude wn:'. -< , '.-a , = . a-
::n n arms defending its terrton :-: rs '::-. :re
::rer producing a military reTvo--:-'::-l'::s a
:rwerful morale and motvat 19 ':':: --: ..':a<-
-3sses come with the same Mos er '-^::rertal-
sm applied to power politics :n ,'''. 3- 1^3 arrri€d
':rces have been purged and'clea"se: :'a-\ per-
-rlnnel or influences thought to encaige':-e status
r'power of the regime. Thus prc'ess:na r,i,tary
::rsonnel have been either exec-:ei l- 'e-loved
''cm office, leaving mllitary direc:c^ ic varous L]ir,11,;
':rms of revolutionary guards who na,"e 'eceatedly
:rown themselves to have more 'en'o,.'or actton
:ran military ability. ln fore gn af'a's :re fun-
:amentalist regime has conducted itse' r such a
.','ay that it has virtually no allres to prov'oe s r cpcrt of
:ry kind, and the internal econom cs o' ran are now
= shambles.
During the Shah's regime the arrned'orces tparti-
-:larly the army) were provided with all iney desired
:rC more. Vast sums from oil revenues were spent
: r obtaining the f inest equtpment on the mar<et and
: lavish support infrastructure was establ'shed,
:=ten employing imported knowhow and personnel.
"^,1lth the fall of the Shah allthis changed.
Tne armed
':rces became the subject of scrutiny and suspi-
: cn, and many senior officers were simply killed or
: rowed to leave the country. Then rn September
"980 came the war wlth lraq.
At first the lranian armed forces did well, severely
':puising the invading lraqis. But the war then de- fixed lines along the border between lran and lraq to Spearheading both the military effott and the
generated into two opposing defensive lines, and act as pillboxes. Large numbers must be unservice- Islamic revolution inside lran are the
::spite a number of offensives and counter- able for lack of spares and the required main- Revolutionary Guards. I 25,000 strong, their
tenance. The same must be said of most of the equipment is motley and their training mediocre,
:-ensives the war has now settled into a conf lict of bu t their determin a tion to s tamp the M idd Ie E as t
: mple attrition and waiting for one side or the other army's other equipment, which ranges from Sovlet with their brand of extremist religion ensures
.: break. The war has also seen the loss of a great trucks and BMP MICVs to Brazilian EE-9 armoured continuing conflict.
::al of the lranian armed forces' equipment, either cars. Much of the artillery, which includes the usual
:. enemy action or through lack of spares and array of Soviet and American towed and self- propelled equipments, appears still to be operatton-
- aintenance. Thus the army is now severely limited al, but ammunition stocks for most of the guns.
- :he nu mbers of weapons it has to hand, and the air kanian Chiettains captured intact by the lraqis including the Soviet 122-mm (4.8-in) rocke:-
':.ce has only a handful of serviceable aircraft left. ouBide Abadan in 1981 . Despite their qualitative launchers, must by now be getting low. For an: -
-.e navy has all but ceased to exist apart from a few superiority, some 200 Chieftains tell into lraqi aircraft defences the army has to rely on light tol,r'ec
hands as the I ranian army, weakened by the /oss of weapons rather than the more complex US l--
-::stal vessels. For this reason it is not possible to prolessional officers, retreated in confusion. There
:-c ish an 'Order of Battle', for any manpower or proved HAWK and Soviet seltpropelled ZSL)-Z3-L
are repoils that some of the captured Chieftains
,'.:apon totals would be at best slmple guesses or are being overhauled by the lraqis before delivery While the army is still retained for its expen s:
: -'e hypothesis. to the Royal Jordanian army in return for King and staff ability, combat is now generally assun s:
I/ussern 3 asstsfance. by lhe Pasdaran, or Revolutionary Guard Cor':s
The lranian Army
-re lranlan army can now be roughly divided into
---:e main components: the old regular army
,.,i+h i+^ ^^^^^'i^+ h' 'lr. rh^
the Qarrnlr r+innanr
l3:ner with its conscript bulk; Revolutionary
-:'C Corps or Pasdaran, the loose organization
.: -ow provides the bulk of lran's military man-
-.',3:, the Basse/, who may be regarded as little
-:-= ihan barely trained cannon-fodder; and the
= -:cllahi, who are a form of home defence force
::.Jt the same military status as the Bassei,
--: 'egular army now'exists as a closely defined
',- :' about 50,000officers and men, whose main
- : :c train the conscrlpts who pass through the
' = .: ihe rate of about 1 00,000 at any one time to
-: ::e their 24 months' service (although few
-:::e the full term). At one time the army had
.= ='ooured divisions equipped with Soviet T-54/
' . ,-: --62s (about 190) along with a force of 300
" :-:: -s and 300 M47s or M48s and 150 M60s.
i -. . -l\,vmanyof thisforceare leftis nowalmost
: ::: : 3 to say. Many have been lost to enemy
: - :- l more have been dug into the defensive
ILP^ss m
E Iran
arms trade abroad, through which some spares for
the F-4s and F-5s have been channelled. High prices
are known td have been paid for such purchases
despite the fact that many of these spares.are of
doubtful quality. Reports have been made that
some new aircraft have been obtained via North
Korea, mainly MiG-l9s and MiG-21s along with ex-
Chinese F-6 fighters, but these reports have yet to
be confirmed.

The lranian Navy


Siz Lc,cklleed P-3F Orions were proanred before The lranian Air Force The lranian navy has never been a large naval
the revolution. It is now believed that only two The late Shah lavished as much attention and force, but the recent war has made it mueh smaller
airsatt arefully operational,wiih two lostand two money on the air force as he did upon the army, but and current operational missions are confined large-
annibalized. Operations are conducted from with his fall the air force suffered rather more from ly to coastal patrols and the defence of the oil in-
Bandar Abbas (Tactical Air Base/Vo. 9). the lslamic fundamentalists than did the army. stallations at Kharg lsland. At one time the main
Many of the air force.officers were consldered as strength of the navy was invested in three des-
too 'westernized' by the new regime and were tre- troyers and four frigates (some of them missile-
Formed out of the eager revolutionaries who ated accordingly. Many were either executed or armed), but most of these are now either harbour-
brought about the fall of the Shah, this is now a forced to leave the country; some did so by deser- bound or have been lost during combat missions
revolutionary shock force whose men are regarded tion (a course of action still widespread), taking their against raqi naval forces. The rest of the vessels are
I

as the main defenders of the Moslem fundamental- aircraft with them: not surprisingly this has had a either ex-American corvettes (of which only two out
ist movement. They number about 1 50,000, and are disastrous effect on the combat efficiency of the air of four now remain) and a larger number of small
infantry-based with appropriate equipment. What force. Many of the best men have now gone, and patrol vessels. lt must be assumed that the fleet of
supporting weapons they require they take f rom the this situation is exacerbated by the lack of spare eight SRN-6 and six BH-7 hovercraft is no longer
army. The Pasdaran is organized into battalions parts and maintenance for the more sophisticated operational.
which operate in brigade groups, sometimes in co- equipment, among which can be found some of the A small navy air arm is still maintained, and some
operation with the army and sometimes indepen- most advanced aviation hardware in existence. reports mention that two Lockheed P-3F Orions are
dently. There are supposed to be naval and air ele- For example, at one time the air force had four still operational. A fleet of i 6 helicopters (10 Sikors-
ments of lhe Pasdaran, but such elements are be- squadrons equipped with a total of 77 Grumman ky SH-3Ds and six Sikorsky RH-53Ds) may still be
lieved to be nominal only. F-144 Tomcat fighters. lt is now doubtful if more operational, but the helicopters are no doubt subject
The Bassei is at least partially trained and equip- than five could be made operational, and those only to the same spares restrictions as the equipment of
ped with small arms (the usual lranian service rifle ls by a process of cannibalization of other aircraft. The other armed forces. However, the navy is able to
the Heckler und Koch G3). Operationally. the young same could be said of the 90 McDonnell Douglas F4 obtain some sort of priority due to its importance in
and almost fanatical volunteers are attached to Phantoms that once equipped 10 squadrons. Now guard.ing the oil installations and shipping lanes on
tont-line units: they are used mainly as massed fewer than 1 0 are left and these are reserved for the which the shaky lranian economy still depends. The
;nfantry in the offensive, and generally advance in defence of oil installations and the capital, Tehran. lt recent attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf have
the'human wave' formation that produces massive is likely that larger numbers of Northrop F-5E and emphasized the importance of the maritime
casualties in their ranks. Of late volunteers for the F-SF fighters are still operational as these are much approaches to Kharg lsland, and many of the remain-
BasseJ have started to fall in number, so its ranks simpler aircraft to maintain, and one source states lng navy vessels are now stationed nea r there; other
have been swelled by hapless members of the Herz- that about 50 remain. The same can be said for the bases are at Bandar Lengeh, Bandar Abbas,
fhis organization is nominally a home-
bollahi. fleet of Lockheed C-1 30 transports, and a number of Bushehr, Bandar-e-Khomeini and Bandar-e-Anzali.
defence force, but the total of no less than the original fleet of 52 are still operational. lt is
2.500,000 comprises all available able-bodied men unlikely that many of the Rapier and Tigercat sur-
face-to-air missile squadrons are still operational.
A Soviet-supplied BM 2 I I 22-mm'Katyusha'
and youths. Many members are volunteers, but rockets lraqi posidons on ffie southern front. Since
rnany others are detailed by local administrations to Some of the fleet of 12 Boeing 707 and seven the lraqi invasion ground to ahalt, thewat has
meet imposed quota requirements. Training for the Boeing747 transport aircraft (some of the Boeing stagnated into a series ofartillery duels
bulk of the members is at best sketchy, and few 707s were also used as tankers but this role is punctuated by clumsy lranian counterattacks, The
weapons are available until the men are sent to a unlikely to have been retained) are still operational BM 21 fires a40-rocketsalvoto amaximumrange
front ln many cases fanaticism has made lhe Herz' and maintain a tenuous link with the commercial of 20.5 km(12.7miles).
bol/ahiunits into formidable combat forces, but their
casualties have been very high.
ln addition to the three main formations men-
t:oned above, the army can still call upon a few
reseryes who have passed through the army con-
script or regular training process, though most of
lnese assets have now been impressed into some
{orm of service or another. The army has available
the gendarmerie, which includes border guards and
rhe Mostazafin (a type of civil guard), but both of
these are usually assigned to internal security.
ln all its forms the lranian army is stili a formidable
fighting force, though it is now being drastically ,l
affected by a general lack of equlpment, spares and
ammunition. As a result of the extreme policies
adopted by lran's lslamic ruling elite there now
appears to be little chance that this situation will be
remedied in the near future. The only practical ally
now possessed by lran is North Korea, and as North
Korean aid has to be airlifted in Boeing 747SP trans-
ports, such aid is very limited although reports have ;t
been made that some Type 59 tanks have been 7
del vered.
At one time the Army Aviation Command dis-
posed of 65 light aircraft and some 470 helicopters.
How many of these are still operational it is impossi- -J
ble to discover. Heaviest of the helicopters were 92 {
Boeing Vertol CH-47C Chinooks. --l